Wednesday, July 21, 2010

BLUEJAY Wins J/109 Europeans

J/109 one-design cruising racing sailboat- sailing European Championship in Cork, Ireland

Costa del Sol Cork A Donnybrook

(Cork, Ireland)- Magically, the "almost Mediterranean" weather combined with some classic Irish wind/weather thrown into the mix to make this years CORK Week another memorable one. All classes had great racing and on the last day of racing you could feel the tension on the dock, with virtually all the classes still to be decided, as the yachts motored out to the demilitarized combat zone along the narrow confines of Cork River. The conditions had eased from the previous day's maelstrom, but this was a day where smart sailing put boats in winning positions.  Watery sunshine, 15 knots from the northwest were to provide some tricky conditions for all classes. Cork Harbour and the surrounding area have huge land effects on the wind and, especially on the last day, the gradient made for constant changes which drove tacticians crazy.

For the J/109 European Championships it was hard to hold back the well-oiled machine on BLUEJAY.  As Greg Burgess's J/109 BLUEJAY took the gun on the first race of last day, the crew punched the air with delight, knowing they'd taken first overall.  Brian Moreton's JUKE BOX was second overall and Ian Nagle and Paul O'Malley's JELLY BABY, snatched third place on the last day from Robert O'Leary's JEROBOAM. If you recall, of the eighteen J/109s (ten from England and eight from Ireland) competing it was JEROBOAM blasting out of the starting gate in the first race to throw down the gauntlet and win the race by over two minutes!  Sadly, on day three with big breeze, waves and blustery conditions, title contender JEROBOAM was flying downwind when the pole failed to take the strain and buckled under load, forcing them to retire.  As a result, the failure pushed them down to fourth overall with two high scores in races 6 and 7 that hurt their chances to score a podium finish.

IRC Class Zero had exceptionally close racing and Neil Martin's J/133 JAMMY DODGER managed to crack the top ten to get seventh overall. Their slow start in the first four races hampered their chances for a top three finish.  Of note, the Sisk Trophy for best Corinthian Yacht went to Neil Martin's J/133 JAMMY DODGER (e.g. a "No-Pro First")!!

IRC Class One had very tight racing for the top three spots.  However, Sheila and James Tyrerell's J/122 AQUELINA had difficulty finding second gear to stay in the hunt and avoid some tight spots.  Nevertheless, many felt they won the party and class overall!

IRC Class Three started as a donnybrook between two J/35s and an X332 in the first four races.  After the smoke cleared, and a few hundred pints later, it was John Moorehead and Chris Ferres' J/35 BENGAL MAGIC that simply "ran the table" and notched five firsts and a second to dominate their class!  Congratulations to the BENGAL MAGIC team for such a stunning performance.  Sadly, the other J/35, MUMBO sailed by Dermot Cronin, sailed incredibly well until the last two races, taking to DNS's after some equipment trouble in the 5th race...otherwise they looked to be second overall for the series!

IRC Class Six had the J/24s sailing and Flor O'Driscoll's J/24 HARD ON PORT finished in second with straight second places!  Full results CORK Race Week Sailing Results.      Photo credits: Tim Wright/